Flash mobs attack Minneapolis

Violence last week has downtown on edge

Flash Mobbed

Downtown Minneapolis beset by violent gangs

Pieter's mother explains over the phone that her son is resting. Pieter, whose last name is being withheld at his family's request, is recovering from a brain injury suffered when he was attacked by a group of 20 to 30 young people in downtown Minneapolis shortly after 11 p.m. on St. Patrick's Day.

It's a story that has unfolded disturbingly often recently: Since the start of February, "flash mobs" have struck with violence in downtown Minneapolis six times. Three of the attacks have resulted in injuries; Pieter's are by far the most severe. After he was attacked, doctors at HCMC struggled to contain swelling in his brain. The possibility of Pieter needing open-brain surgery hung over the family until the next morning, when doctors finally concluded it wouldn't be necessary. Pieter, 27, is now in the early stages of a slow recovery, but it's too early to know whether he'll ever bounce back completely.

Pieter and his 23-year-old nephew were downtown to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. They were hanging out at Kieran's, and decided to head back to their hotel room on the other side of downtown around 11. While walking, Pieter and his nephew were "blindsided" by "20 to 30 juveniles."

Grace said a Wells Fargo security guard saw part of the incident and later told police that the mob repeatedly kicked Pieter while he lay on the ground helplessly. When the beating finally ceased, Pieter was left with a bloody face, no short-term memory, and significant brain injuries.

Pieter worked as a visual artist and graphic designer before the attack. He's home from the hospital now and staying with his mother, Grace. As he couldn't do in the hours immediately following the beatdown, he now remembers his name and is regaining some mobility. Yet he can't drive or go outside by himself, and his brain is still swollen.

As for the assailants? Both Pieter and his nephew have said the attack commenced so unexpectedly, they really can't remember anything about the young people who beat them mercilessly. "It happened so fast [Pieter] can't remember anything about them," Grace said.

A surveillance camera caught the incident and that tape is now in the custody of Minneapolis police, but no arrests have been made.

Sgt. Steve McCarty of the Minneapolis Police Department said investigators are looking into possible connections between the string of incidents that has downtown Minneapolis on edge. Meanwhile, Pieter faces a long recovery from devastating injuries. —Aaron Rupar

Traffic Suicides

On a mid-November morning last year, as the sun was still coming up, a woman wearing a long, dark jacket wandered onto Interstate 94.

It was a horrifying sight to drivers on their commute to work, many of whom had to veer quickly out of the way to avoid hitting her.

"Everyone was kind of swerving a little bit and then getting back in their lanes," driver Stephen Feldman told us in an interview after the incident. "You try to look back but you can't really see anything because it's chaos."

Then the woman lay down, and was killed by oncoming traffic.

It was a chilling incident. Not only was a woman dead, but an innocent driver had killed her. Unfortunately, similar apparent suicides play out on Minnesota highways a few times every year, says Lt. Eric Roeske, spokesman for the State Patrol.

"It's most difficult on the scene for the person who hit them," says Roeske. "They don't know what to do. They're not guilty of a crime or anything. You just try to help them the best you can, and send them on their way."

Recently, it's been even more common. Including the tragedy in November, the State Patrol has seen at least five similar incidents in as many months.

"It has been happening more frequently," Roeske says.

There is no definitive answer as to why. Experts say that suicide by traffic is generally uncommon, though it shares similarities with other forms of suicide, such as lying in front of a train, or suicide by cop.

"I don't pretend to understand why it is that someone would choose to do this," says Eric Caine, chair of the University of Rochester's psychiatry department. "I suspect that the moment they're doing it, they're not thinking of other people."

If there is a connection between these tragedies, it could be what's known as the "Contagion Effect," says Yeates Conwell, who also studies suicide prevention at Rochester. Because they often shut down traffic on major highways, some of these incidents have received prominent media attention from news outlets around the Twin Cities, including City Pages.

If you're having suicidal thoughts, we strongly encourage you to call the The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free number, 1-800-273-TALK. —Andy Mannix

 
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23 comments
Stevieg0123
Stevieg0123

There is nothing in the flash mob article that indicated the skin color of the assailants. Anyone who automatically assumes the attackers are persons of color is a racist. Blacks do not have lower IQs. They are victims of family dysfunction and higher incarceration rates because they are racially profiled and therefore more likely to be arrested than whites, and because they are discriminated against to the point of economic disadvantage, which can tear apart any family, regardless of color. I am ashamed that members of my community could be so blatantly, willfully ignorant and intolerant as the boneheads who posted all this crap.

Letsbehonest
Letsbehonest

Actually, it would be considered stereotyping because of 90% of the mob attacks that have happened, have been blacks. So just to be PC, you should read the definition of Racism. Look it up. No, really.

Matt
Matt

Have any of these attackers been a group of white youth? Any of them? Is it racist to assume the skin color of the attackers was dark? Would anyone be surprised if that was the case? Now flip it. Would you be surprised if you heard that the attackers were all white? If so, would that make you racist? The race statistics on murder and violence speak for themselves, and pretending they don't is ignorant. Most people don't want to be racist, they just want to enjoy downtown without fear of violence. But if you were walking down the street, a large group of whites on one side, and a large group of blacks on the other. Which side of the street would you walk down? Does it make you racist to choose the side with the color that is statistically less violent? Would that be wrong?

EducatedAmerican
EducatedAmerican

Let's improve the Education Programs in low-income neighborhoods and see the difference that would make...Whoever did this and the groups they may or may not come from do not "innately" act like this. Uneducated people with low access to resources act like this and at the end of the day more people of color fall into this catagory, so people please hate the problems that cause these problems NOT the people.

JonnyBeGood
JonnyBeGood

What is really scary is that These attacks seem to be from black Somali gangs that have dug themselves into MN. If caught, and if true, they should be sent back to Somalia. In addition, since there has been so much gang activity why are the police not warning Minnesotans? How are dangerous immigrants getting into the country? We are all immigrants and we should respect that to be here, we are looking for a better chance (harking the old spirit of our ancestors) - so people who do not respect that need to be sent back.

Lilacstaff
Lilacstaff

Why does everyone overlook our Native hosts? Can we deport third generation criminal English/German/Irish? Have you ever reached out to help acclimate Somali's? Maybe you need to go be good elsewhere...

It makes me angry when people turn a blind eye to all the garbage in Minneapolis.

Meaning; litter and poor behavior. We have an emergency of insular ethnocentrism of all tribes and it just so happens, that everyone is in a bad way, but there is a large presence of a culture of ignorance downtown, if the cops and locals don't step it up, we will lose our Minnesota nice to imported thugs, murderers, and scumbags (National and international).

ShutYourMouth
ShutYourMouth

Flash mobs....it's a black thang.

All humans must unite against these sub humans.

tearcollector
tearcollector

It's only going to escalate with the Zimmerman/Martin incident. There's already been several attacks reported. One six miles from the shooting. A white man was beaten with a hammer by 2 of the same feral "youths" and is now on life support.No marches for him, no outrage. No media frenzy over the Hispanic kid that was beaten and stomped by 7 black teens. Too many others to note Apparently the black community only cares when a non-black takes a black life. They will ignore the rampant crime committed by their own. If they are unable to act civilized they needn't be here.I hope this innocent victim recovers and justice is swift and merciless.It's time we took care of this disease and wipe them out!!!

joeg2
joeg2

Every black in North America should be shot or deported. This useless species should be allowed to go extinct. No more EBT cars, or any money from other races. The black population in the Western world would drop 90% without the massive wealth transfers from whites to blacks.

Steve Hartke
Steve Hartke

I would say deportation is more than sufficient. Hell with them.

B
B

Blacks seem determined to justify their own segregation.

haroldcrews
haroldcrews

One guess what color these attackers were and same for the other mob attacks. Jim Crow needs to return. It is no more unjust to treat people who are different the same as it is to treat people who are the same differently. Blacks have substantially lower IQs, higher incidences of family dysfunction, a tendency to commit violence and higher rates of criminality. These are facts and can not be seriously disputed. To deny them is to live in delusion. There is no perfectly just system but Jim Crow would be better than what we have now. Nothing will destroy a society more quickly than widespread random violence.

dotdotdot
dotdotdot

Haroldcrews - Your long-winded explanations and arguments for your ignorant views don't change the simple fact that, your sir, are an idiot. I don't like resorting to name calling but for you, I'll make an exception.

Jim
Jim

This is utter nonsense. No matter how many statisics you come up with, it is garbage to advocate discrimination against anyone, based on their being something they had no control over. No matter the effort it takes, asociate the deeds with the people who commit them, and don't jump to generalizations.

What I like about your post is your obvious indignation at teh abuse of human beings by their fellows. But let's try to stay rational an drefrain from hatred. We have seen enough "leaders' in the public wyw withing the last few days trying to divide Americans over similar issues.

JonnyBeGood
JonnyBeGood

What if statistics stated that highest per cent of rapists are white - should we be aware of dating white people.. damn right. If the percent of violent crime is black, damn right I am going to be precautions.

haroldcrews
haroldcrews

Jim, I appreciate your civility. Though I would have to disagree regarding several things you said. Jim Crow or segregation is rational. It existed for 50 plus years and society functioned very well. It ended because of politics not because of any internal contradiction. It is just that contradiction found in integration that is bringing its end about. Further I did not cite any statistics but asserted several propositions as facts. Lastly hatred is an emotion that every person is capable of having not just race realists. So let's not appeal to the fallacy of imputing motives. Certainly there is much appeal to meritocracy in connection with individualism. But the simple fact of the matter is that we do not live as individuals. The overwhelming number of people identify with groups. The most frequent grouping that we make is in regards to race. To assert individualism in contrast to this is what is irrational. It is all well and good to demand that each is to be judged by the content of his character but that isn't what most of us do is it? It is not human nature to judge out-group individuals the same as in-group individuals. But that isn't what society expects anyhow. Only whites are required to judge as to character. Minorities are not expected to be unbiased. Jim Crow merely acknowledges the fact of human nature. Certainly when it comes to crime no one wants anyone but the guilty to be punished. I certainly did not advocate otherwise. Segregation merely separates people so that there will be less conflict. Lastly it is not whether there will be discrimination or no discrimination but what forms of discrimination will be permitted or required by the government. The current dispensation requires reverse discrimination against whites. Jim Crow merely changes that to favor the majority at the expense of the minority. That appears to be a lessening of discrimination to me and a furtherance of justice.

Guest
Guest

I'm sorry Harold, I really tried hard to read your comments with a fair-open mind and truly understand what you are saying but the result keeps coming back to what Travis Stearns said and add that you are Nucking Futs. In your world, how would you picture re-instituting Jim Crow? Who gets to decide who lives where? Who works where? Who eats where etc, etc. I am a proud Minnesotan who happens to be African American. I am highly educated, have a wonderful beautiful family with three A-honor roll kids. My income pushes me well into a income tax-bracket that is at the highest level by the IRS. I thank God every day that I have friends and families who are much more progressive and that my 'group' looks more like the UN than a race-based gang. I refuse to be categorized by the color of my skin and only by the content of my character. I am an individiual and neither you or your 50's era thinking have the right to impose your beliefs or standards on me. And please don't get me started on 'the current dispensation of white being reverse discrimnated against (which is really oxomoronic for those keeping score at home). I don't believe in nor subscribe to Affirmative Action thinking but I also think that to be discriminated against you have to NOT be in a position of power. PIck any Fortunes 500 company and run down the roster of leaders. The number of White Males in power positions (C-Level) is surely in the 90% range. When 48% of Fortune 500 companies power structure is non-white get back to me on discrimination. Lets call it what it is.....not a level playing field and some people have had the foresight to try and create avenues to hire and promote people who 'look' like many of their consumers. Not saying its done but I understand the effort.

Travis Stearns
Travis Stearns

And it's because of privileged maniacs like you that they remain in this loop of violence and crisis. Either build a time machine or start living in 2012 with the rest of the humans.

haroldcrews
haroldcrews

If you wish to be taken seriously you can't merely spout nonsense. You don't know me and have no idea whether I'm privileged or not. Additionally considering my political views (as well as you may surmise them) how on God's green earth could you think I have any influence? Not having influence how could today's problems be my fault? They can't. Additionally I've not been in any sort of physical altercation since high school and that's been 25 years ago. What violence am I responsible for? The left is in the driver's seat and bears far more of the blame than I do. Lastly right, wrong, facts and truth have no correlation as to a date. Don't be an idiot.

dotdotdot
dotdotdot

Haroldcrews calling someone else an idiot: Irony at its best.

 
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